Top Ways to Reduce Work Stress 

Employees often feel work-related stress. Find out how to reduce work stress and help your employees stay healthy.

August 21, 2020 By Guest Author Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!
workplace stress
stress in the workplace

Work stress is a presence in almost all employees’ lives. The World Health Organization defines stress as ‘the health epidemic of the 21st century’. Although there are various types of stress that affect humankind, the most common one that employees deal with every day is work stress. 

🔦 In this article, we will list the most important reasons behind development of stress and top ways to reduce work stress. Before we start, get our back to work toolkit for employers with which you can reduce stress for your employers during COVID-19 pandemic. 

Why Does Work Stress Occur 

A lot of employees are susceptible to work-related stressThis is why more and more HR Professionals are recognizing the power of employee wellbeing initiatives which have a positive effect on employee health and consequently on business success. 

employee wellbeing

Here are some of the main reasons work stress happens. 

1. Poor management 

Without clear directions, your employees can feel lost, and at times frustrated. Good management is crucial to reduce work stress, and this is why companies invest in management training more and more. 

🔦 Find out which management styles out there would suit your company best and decrease your employees’ work stress.  

2. Excessive workload 

Commonly taken as one of the main job stressors, excessive workload may drive employees to work long hours or overtime. The competitive atmosphere has proven to be productive only for short periods of time, and it often leads to burnout. Consequently, employees who experience burnout are more likely to take a sick day, thus increasing absenteeism. 

employee burnout

3. Poor company culture  

If your employees do not feel safe and comfortable in their workplace, they will likely feel work stress. Causes of work stress in company culture can vary from benign ones, with an individual simply not fitting in. However, sometimes employees are subject to workplace harassment or unsafe work conditions, which are very serious offenses and can cause excessive stress and burnout. 

4. Lack of motivation 

When employee motivation is low, productivity suffers. Employees feel stressed out by the amount of work they have, yet they lack the incentives to work hard. Over time, lack of motivation can lead to your employees missing deadlines and delivering low-quality work, which causes them work stress.  

5. Poor work-life balance 

It is worrying that 45% of employees do not feel like their employer promotes a healthy work-life balanceStress caused by lack of downtime or lack of time to attend to personal matters affects work in a profound way, and employers should take note to include more of work-life balance employee benefits to their portfolio. 

reduce work stress

How Organizations Can Facilitate Reducing Work Stress  

Before investing your time and resources to reduce work stress for your employees, you should get a habit of conducting regular employee surveys and checking in with your employees. By gaining relevant data, you will be able to track your stress reduction efforts and apply the right measures. 

🔦 See how you can easily check your employees’ pulse with SurveyRocks. 

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Check your employees’ pulse with SurveyRocks.

Here are some ways the organization can reduce work stress in their employees. 

  • Create a positive physical work environment, like a terrace or garden for the employees to take walks in, greenery around the campus, happy hues on the walls, or just some background music. 
  • Some organizations have gone a step ahead in being innovative in creating a stress-free workplace for their team by getting a service animal, usually a dog inside their premises. Animals can help relieve stress and are also extremely gifted in recognizing stress in a person and extending their support. 
  • Encourage and adopt open-door policies. 
  • Train to up-skill employees, encourage employee development and offer them to learn something new and interesting. 

employee training

  • Be transparent and fair when assigning roles and responsibilities. 
  • Apply zero tolerance policy for harassment and or discrimination. 
  • Bring ainhouse professional to extend help and teach employees to cope with their stress. 
  • Offer family-friendly benefits to help employees maintain a positive work-life balance. 
  • Encourage and invite decision making that is in line with the individual’s role. 
  • Plan events or activities to promote better social interactions at work. 
  • Be fair and do not ask for your employees to work overtime, especially without proper compensation. 
  • Implement an employee recognition program and appreciate your employees’ time and effort so they stay motivated and prevent developing stress symptoms. 

employee recognition playbook

Helpful Self-Care Techniques to Reduce Workplace Stress 

Even though organizations should make an effort to reduce work stress, they can also organize seminars or disperse instructional material to teach their employees how to combat stress in the workplace. 

Follow these tips and communicate them in your workplace to ensure everybody feels safe, healthy and productive while working in your company. 

Understand the stress triggers 

It is important that we delve deep into our minds and understand the triggers that cause the stress to build up inside us. Say, for example- you feel stressed at a particular hour of the day, or you are stressed every time you have to meet your boss, or is it the mere thought of going to work that stresses you out.  Whichever the reason, understanding what causes it helps you being better prepared to handle it and work out a plan. 

Communication 

It is imperative that we are able to communicate our distress clearly so that we are able to ask for what we need or do not. Understanding what needs to be communicated is the first step towards altering the stressful state of affairs. 

🔦 Employers, take note: 86% of employees think that workplace failures are caused by lack of collaboration or ineffective communication, which leads to increased stress levels. 

ineffective communication

Positive imagery 

It has been scientifically proven that imagining a positive experience, a happy thought, or place under a stressful condition can wire the brain off the negativity and gear it towards positivity. 

ABC technique 

This is a very popular and widely practiced stress-relieving technique. The letters depict A- adversity, B- belief, and C- consequence, in simple words in a stressful situation belief in a positive outcome of events, because the more optimistic the approach, the more the chances of a positive consequence. 

Take your vacation 

We all have permitted leaves; it is advisable that we take them to de-stress ourselves. Avoiding doing so due to the fear of more work upon returning only tires us out both physically and mentally, thus aggravating the stress in us. 

Take breaks 

It is important that we take breaks while at work. Even when there is a deadline to be met, we need to find a little time out for a quick on the spot stretch or a delicious working lunchAlso, even being hungry can promote stress. 

Eliminate interruptions 

We are continuously bombarded by interruptions in the form of a phone call, huddle sessions, emails, text messages, inquisitive and chatty colleagues, and so many other factors that simply just amplifies our workload in a reduced time window and causes our stress levels to shoot up.  See which common interruptions you can foresee and create a workaround. 

Self-care 

It is essential that we indulge in self-care with the most basic at the least, which is eating well and sleeping enough. When the body or the mind is tired, we are only but inviting more stress. 

Practice the breathing technique 

When under stress, we feel mostly agitated, stop before reacting instantaneously, and take a deep breath through your nose while letting it out through the mouth. This may sound simple but is extremely powerful in instantly cooling us down. 

Decorate and personalize your workspace 

We all have those happy pictures that can lift us up anytime, bring them to work, and decorate your workspace. Pictures of friends and family, a little potted lucky bamboo plant, your furry pet, or your first ultrasound whatever adds a little personal touch. Seeing familiar positive images in a stressed situation can help us a great deal. 

Stop being your best critic 

Investing time in overthinking how people perceive us can make us under-motivated and harsh on ourselves. Fight off negative thoughts, including the pessimistic approach, become more social at the workplace, and voice out concerns. 

Author Bio 

Jyoti Bhardwaj – is an influenced editor and writer at gardening websites Oakia, one of the coolest gardening sites on the internet to help people find useful knowledge about gardening. Over the last four years, she has had working experience with multiple online websites.